On Man and Machines: Competition, Cooperation and Coordination

  • Fatimah Ishowo-Oloko

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Since its inception, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has both fascinated and frightened human society. After Turing argued that machines can demonstrate intelligence, both the scientific literature and popular culture have explored the many possible future ramifications of this phenomenon, some of which are not so favorable to humanity. Indeed, AI technologies have been developing at a staggering speed, building largely on the exponential growth in computer processing power and increased algorithmic sophistication. Moreover, AI technologies are becoming pervasive in our everyday lives, with applications ranging from Internet search and medical diagnosis, to fraud detection, stock market trading, and online dating. In this thesis, I look at how humans and machines interact in repeated social scenarios modeled as strategic games. I explore these interactions in three dimensions: competition, cooperation and coordination. My results reveal a number of important findings which include that machines now have the ability to outperform man in social interactions, an area where man was previously thought to retain supremacy. I also find that man generally do not expect machines to exhibit moral features like cooperation, leniency, forgiveness and these stereotypes influenced their behavior when paired with machines. To this end, I provided a proof-of-concept that machines can overcome these biases and stereotypes. Lastly, I designed a novel AI advisory Bot, sScript, which leverages the fast, analytical reasoning skills of machines to promote cooperative behavior in humans. Given the ongoing debate about the encroachment of AI (machines, software, bots, computer programs) in our everyday lives, the novelty and strength of this thesis lies in its systematic and detailed analysis of human-machine interactions. We explored the various phases of this relationship; machines competing with man and outperforming them; machines cooperating with man despite initial bias against it and lastly machines coordinating with man to promote cooperation in social dilemmas.
Date of AwardMay 2017
Original languageAmerican English


  • Artificial Intelligence (AI); Human-Machine Interactions; Strategic Games; sScript; United Arab Emirates.

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